Z. Wang

Northeast Normal University (CHINA)
Through the comparison of the principal’s self-role cognition in the compulsory education in China and South of Africa, this study combs the similarities and differences between the two countries in principal’s role cognition, explores the basic orientation of the principal’s role, and gives some corresponding suggestions to the development of the Chinese principal’s professionalization and specialization. In this research, the principal’s role in the compulsory education is influenced by many factors, and the direct factors are the external environment and management system. In addition, the differences in the role orientation also make the differences in the principal’s cognizance of power boundary, which is reflected more obvious in the study of the principal in the compulsory education in China and South of Africa. This paper expects to present an objective and real difference in the role orientation of the principal, and provides some references for related studies.

Research Methodology:
This study was conducted from an interpretive perspective, thus allowing the researcher to “establish how participants make meaning of a specific phenomenon. As far as methodology is concerned, this qualitative study used a case study design or “the study of an instance in action” to study “a specific instance that is frequently designed to illustrate a more general principle” . The case in this instance is a variety of public primary schools in the Limpopo and Jilin provinces of South Africa and China respectively, while the phenomenon under investigation is the principal’s role .
As alluded to in the introduction, this study drew its data from four medium-sized so-called under-resourced primary schools in the Limpopo province of South Africa and four smaller urban primary schools in the city of Changchun, which is situated in the Jilin province. The sample for this study was therefore selected purposively as well as for convenience. In order to insure the comprehensiveness of the data, semi-structured interviews were conducted with the principals of the eight schools to gather data.All the data was coded, inductively analyzed and related within the conceptual framework to the primary research question.

The findings of this pilot study will initially be discussed by country, after which differences and similarities will be highlighted and discussed.
In the conclusion to the paper, the researcher will set out the dominant themes that emerge from the overall data per school and from the study as a whole, after which will follow a brief section on preliminary conclusions and recommendations that can reasonably be made at the hand of these themes.